Sharp slowdown for Novartis
NOVARTIS, the Swiss healthcare and agribusiness group, reported a sharp slowdown in growth with a 1% increase in first-half sales to $11.1 billion.
Novartis shares have substantially underperformed the stock market this year as evidence has mounted that it was growing more slowly than rival healthcare and agricultural groups.
Agribusiness sales rose 2% to SF5.3 billion. The company warned it expected no significant change in its agribusiness given the concentration of sales in the first six months of the year.
Novartiss slight sales increase in the first-half does not compare favourably to last years overall performance when agribusiness sales rose 8%. In addition, crop protection sales grew by just 1% in the first half of 1998 compared with 10% in 1997.
The company will present its first-half 1998 earnings at the end of August. It expects a marked increase in net income to record levels over the full year. It described 1998 as a transition year marked by a shift from integration to a focus on growth and product launches.
- Financial Times 17/07/98 page 29
- The Times 17/07/98 page 28